What better way to start music reviews on my blog than with a relatively unknown Japanese musician, a “friend” of mine from Osaka (okay, we hung out once and she’s my Mixi friend anyway…), EeL. A solo artist whose music is most readily described as electropop, transitioning from electronic dance music to bossa nova, cafe style pop music to bouncy pop-punk drum lines, EeL’s music is, above all, fun. The one thing tying it all together is the saccharine sweet breathy vocals reminiscent of some early French pop music, occasionally even singing in French.
Released on January 26th of this year, for common people is the newest CD from EeL. It just arrived in the mail today and I’ve been listening to it over and over. Definitely one of her better albums, this go around includes all styles of music from pop, reggae, ska (reminiscent of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra), boogie woogie, crazy over the top electronic dancy songs, and even a couple beautiful instrumental interludes. Here’s the music video of the title track:
And here’s a sampling of the songs on the album:
As you can tell from the music video, she’s pretty stylistically crazy, and this shows even more in her live show. Since she creates all of her music by herself originally, when she plays a live show she needs to bring in other musician friends to help perform, thus making each show uniquely different. For example, here’s a blurb of a review I wrote on the first EeL show I went to.
“Comprised of a female singer, a man who plays a cymbal, guitar, and the Theremin, a man who dances around like a fool and eats on stage, and a girl dressed up like a duck with a banana hanging from her neck, you are guaranteed to be in for a surprise.”
Last time I saw her live, there was a giant rabbit dancing around on stage, as seen here.
Here’s a video as well(though based on my experience, the show in the video is a pretty tame one):
Anyway, the point is, every show is a blast. The music may or may not translate as well on CD, but you are guaranteed to have a great time at an EeL show.
For those interested, EeL has a few other CDs out as well. Recently, she repackaged her first two CDs people people and Kung-fu Master into a new release Kung-fu People Et Cetera:
She also has two other releases of note. First, Little Prince, released in 2004, this is the album that got me into EeL, described by Tower Records as “Aphex Twin meets Amelie”. The title track of this album is probably still my favorite EeL song:
The other album is a collaboration with electronic artist Hidenobu Ito, and is a much more reserved electronic mini-album, available on iTunes for anyone interested. Here’s the title track:
Anyway, the point is EeL’s music is a lot of fun and people need to be aware of her. It does take a specific listener to enjoy it though, and if you don’t like cute, girly, poppy vocals, you’re probably not going to like this. If you do, though, I definitely recommend you check her out. If you’re in Japan, I especially recommend you see her live. For anyone who can make it, she will be doing a release party for both for common people and Kung-fu People Et Cetera in Shibuya on Feb. 27th.
For more information, check out her website here. Also, for fans of EeL and other electropop, check back in the next few weeks for a post about two more Japanese artists, HNC (previously known as Hazel Nuts Chocolate) and Love & Hates.